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The abortion debate is just a mix-up?

Well, this is a relief. According to my colleague Ruth Marcus, the whole Pelosi-doesn’t-have-the-votes-for-health-care-reform-thing is just a big misunderstanding. If only pro-life Democrats such as Bart Stupak and the Catholic Bishops actually read the House and Senate health-care reform bills, they would find them practically identical on abortion. Professor Timothy Jost of Washington and Lee University says so. In fact, passage of the Senate bill would be a pro-life victory, likely to reduce the number of abortions because more women would have access to contraception. So why all the fuss? Just the nasty pro-life movement exercising its political “muscle” once again.

One suspects that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has considered Marcus’s arguments – really Jost’s arguments. In fact, one knows it, because the bishops have issued a statement titled “What’s Wrong With the Senate Health-Care Bill on Abortion: A response to Professor Jost.” The legal issues are complex, but the main argument is relatively simple. Current federal law prohibits two things concerning public funding of abortion. Under the Hyde Amendment, it prevents federal funds from going directly to the provision of elective abortions. But it also, in the health coverage of federal employees, prohibits the use of federal funds to subsidize health plans that cover elective abortions.

The House health-care bill maintains both of these restrictions. The Senate bill would allow federal subsidies to go to health plans that cover elective abortions -- under two conditions. First, the coverage would be paid for by a separate premium check required of all enrollees. Second, there would have to be at least one alternative in any regional health exchange that doesn’t offer abortion coverage.

The main objection to the Senate bill is summarized by the bishops this way:

Under the Senate bill, all but one plan in each exchange may cover abortion. Therefore many families will be forced to choose between a plan that best meets their health needs, and one that respects their conscience on abortion. The government, far from helping to protect them from this terrible dilemma, will make it worse by (a) providing federal subsidies for the plans that impose this on people, and (b) requiring any plan that covers these abortions to collect a regular extra payment, solely and specifically for elective abortions, from every enrollee in the plan regardless of their conscientious objection.

Marcus dismisses these concerns as trivial. The practical effect is “nil.” Actually, maintaining this principle -- that federal resources should not be used to encourage elective abortions -- has been one of the few, consistent pro-life successes since Roe v. Wade. Marcus, along with Jost, hopes that principle will be casually abandoned in the confusion of health reform. In fact, they seem determined to add to that confusion at a key moment. Apart from the principle involved, is it really credible to imagine that massive public subsidies to health-insurance plans that cover abortion would reduce the number of abortions? Is there any evidence that one of the main reasons women have abortions is because they lack health coverage that includes contraception?

In fact, all the political “muscle” is being applied on one side. The president and Democratic leadership could have crafted a health-reform approach that maintains the status quo on public funding of abortion. Instead, they produced a bill that subsidies health plans that offer abortion and offends the conscience of millions of Americans. Their pro-abortion views have proven even deeper than their commitment to health-care reform -- a cause they have complicated with their pro-choice ideology.

If the health-care reform abortion debate is really a trivial mix-up, then what are the motivations of, say, the Catholic bishops? They have been one of the most consistent supporters of universal health care in America. They view it as a matter of social justice. It is difficult to accuse them of wanting to show their political “muscle” by defeating health care or Obama. Actually, it would be libelous. So what are they getting out of it? It is difficult to see any possible motivation, except a series of reluctant, principled objections to the Senate bill.

But the supporters of health-care reform have a transparent political motivation. They want to muddle important moral debates to get the thing passed. The casual dismissal of deep ethical concerns is itself a kind of triviality.

By Michael Gerson  | March 17, 2010; 11:06 AM ET
Categories:  Gerson  | Tags:  Michael Gerson  
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Comments

"The president and Democratic leadership could have crafted a health-reform approach that maintains the status quo on public funding of abortion."

They did.

Posted by: zakany | March 17, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Moral bleatings from the likes of you, Gerson? Who are you kidding?

Posted by: LABC | March 17, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

The fact that they made the wording so murky, is another sign of a lousy bill.

Posted by: sarno | March 17, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Can we please stop giving any legal deference to The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for the love of god? Haven't their legal interpretation become a little suspect after their "misreading" of U.S. child abuse laws? The position that the Senate bill funds abortions has been debunked by reason, not political muscle. See CNN, ABC, Salon, etc. (Even the Catholic Nuns). It's only Catholic Bishops and Bart Stupak who argue this. Who's left to support this position?: right wing political "muscle" like Mr. Gerson.

Posted by: Sgerat | March 17, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Shut up, Gerson. Nobody but the right-wing nutjobs care what a former Bush speechwriter has to say about anything. You and the administration you helped to defend dragged our nation's character through the mud while dismantling our prosperity. If you had any sense of shame, you and every member of that administration would be in self-imposed exile in order to atone for your sins.

But atonement will come one way or the other. Jesus doesn't like torturers or their apologists. There's still time to repent while you're here though! Tell the world what you did and ask forgiveness. Nothing else will save your soul.

Posted by: jjhare | March 17, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"Is there any evidence that one of the main reasons women have abortions is because they lack health coverage that includes contraception?"

TO boil the argument down to this level is Republican chicanery! The argument flows from the world healthview, that better health converage leads to decisions that reduce abortions for sundry reasons. One of which is better access to doctors, ergo better education and options; second, knowing that there is health coverage for a newborn plays a vital role in the decision making process.

Your choice to "cherry" pick is indicative of someone who lacks the mental capacity to fully understand the health care issues facing our country. It is obvious you prefer to keep the status quo because you are not affected and you have no desire to help those who are. You cry foul over abortions, yet rave over the importance of using torture, I fail to understand your ethical make-up....

Posted by: fide | March 17, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Thou shalt not stop child molesters from shearing the flock, nor suffer to have the same health insurance as people with different beliefs than yours. Y'all are awesome.

Posted by: redlineblue | March 17, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

From the looks of the comments, no one agrees with Mr. Gerson.

Posted by: pmwolf | March 17, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

What Gerson isn't telling you, and won't - the Catholic bishops would NEVER support any reform bill because it also would increase access to contraceptive services. Marcus is right, the umbrage over abortion is a fig leaf for the bishops to oppose the bill, as evidenced by the support for the Senate legislation from both women religious and the Catholic hospitals.

Posted by: dwt301 | March 17, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Gerson! Finally a Post writer who is willing to look at the other side of the matter, and explore some of the real complexity and technicality of the question... I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your response; there is altogether too much black-and-white argumentation and not enough shades of gray in the health-care debate.

Posted by: FlameoftheWest | March 17, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Gerson and his dear cohorts, the Catholic bishops, are thriving in their alternative universe, known as a false dilemma. When they assert, "Therefore many families will be forced to choose between a plan that best meets their health needs, and one that respects their conscience on abortion. The government, far from helping to protect them from this terrible dilemma..." only idiots fail to see there is no dilemma whatsoever.

Choose the health plan that best meets your needs, people. If you don't want to have an abortion, don't have one.

No dilemma, OK?

Posted by: abqcleve | March 17, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

The Catholics need to take a hike. Bunch of psycho idolaters. Their days are numbered as the lack of legitimate asss keeps the seminary an ever fading option. Diddling little boys, (which is like spiritual homicide) is acceptable but rubbers that save lives are not? Time to go extinct.

Posted by: veronihilverius | March 17, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Go stick your head up the
stinking pope's butt gerson.
You promoter of child molestation you.

Posted by: flyersout | March 17, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

How is it possible that we have a federal law on the books--not even a real law, but something known as the Hyde Amendment--that subverts that which the Supreme Court has declared is a Constitutionally protected right?

Posted by: abqcleve | March 17, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Gerson appealing to morality? Gerson??!! Oh, please!

Posted by: thrh | March 17, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, you Traitor,

How do you like them apples?

Cause President Obama is playing hardball. and the Party of No is the ball.

... (thwack) .... HOME RUN!

Posted by: WillSeattle | March 17, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

zakany ~ for the most part Democrats, as a class of people, or in terms of a political party, simply can't be trusted.

No sense of honor, or integrity.

If that were a 10 page bill it could be readily matched. Since they made it so long it can't be matched.

So, we must assume that somewhere in that Senate Bill there's mandatory forced abortion, and at public expense.

Posted by: muawiyah | March 17, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

All this after a whole year of pure republican obstruction.
Obama is rightfully going to shove reform in your republican *sses, hard, and then move it around violently.
Hope you like it, Gerson.

Posted by: jeffc6578 | March 17, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I am finding Gerson and the Catholic bishops just a little creepy in their obsession with the laic woman's legal right to choose while willing to protect clergy pedophiles, rapists, assaulters and abusers from the laws of the land.

Posted by: judy64 | March 17, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Nice dress Mikey. As a Bush speechwriter, your dress choice is almost as pretty as Mitch McConnell's.

Posted by: edfunk1 | March 17, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I get a kick out of a rabid zionist assuming kinder with the papists. This is HEALTH CARE Gerson, not abortion! You'd have found some other distraction (surely there's something you can link to gay marriage or pedophilia) to keep your pals in Tel Aviv, Connecticut happy and jumped into bed with other folks you ordinarily scorn as you, and others, did in the runnup to the Oil War against Israel's worry du jour, Iraq.

Tell us how much you love Xmas Gerson, and fat pastor Hagey's contributions to zion.

Posted by: mot2win | March 17, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the nuns can answer why the bishops are clueless?

Posted by: knedd | March 17, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Given the latest, seemingly never ending, allegations of priestly pedophilia, the Catholic church has some gall to lecture anyone on morality.

Posted by: BBear1 | March 17, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Gerson you have zero cred. If Bush came up with this health plan you'd be falling all over yourself in support of it. You are strictly partisan and I can predict where you will fall on issues with 100% accuracy. Why does WaPo even pay you? You're a joke.

Posted by: johnk1000 | March 17, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

If the only support you can find for your legal argument is from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, then you might want to rethink your argument...If not, then what, indeed, is the motivation of Mr. Gerson?

Posted by: Sgerat | March 17, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

To hell with bo's ego and block this Hindenberg Bill.Nasty pelosi,socialist reid,and tyrant rahmbo are willing to put America in the brink of econ.crisis with their obsessive 'love' of bo and his demanding tantrums.When bo finally destroys America with his extrav. not to mention his personal cost, he at least has other countries which would gladly bestow homeland rights - Indonesia and Kenya.And Hilliary would take pelosi and the rest of ganglanders to Canada with her.
STOP THIS COSTLY BILL before we all end up as 'waifs' in some Chinese provinces

Posted by: somers91 | March 17, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Gerson wrote: "Is there any evidence that one of the main reasons women have abortions is because they lack health coverage that includes contraception?"

There's lots of evidence that women have more abortions because they lack access to health care coverage of pre-natal and maternity care. Passing this reform would dramatically reduce abortions.

Also your reading of the economics of the situation is nonsensical. The requirement to pay a separate premium for abortion coverage will provide a financial disincentive for abortion coverage

Why are the Catholic bishops opposed? I don't doubt their sincerity. But it is possible to be sincere and wrong. Jost has subsequently responded to the USCCB's reply to his original argument. I encourage everyone to read it. As a simple matter of fact, federal funding of abortion is not permitted under the Senate bill.

Posted by: Alyosha1 | March 17, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Only in America will the corporate media make itself a jobs mill for former members of failed Republican administrations, under the guise of "they have experience."

Gerson used to write speeches for the Worst President In History, George Bush, a man who lied us into a war, who drove the economy to the brink of ruin, and who caused the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Now Fred Hiatt, who is either totally lacking short-term memory, or who wants to dissipate his own shame and guilt over his cheerleading for the Iraq war, gladly cuts Gerson a check to write more lies every week.

Both Gerson and Hiatt's time is better spent going down to the nearest VA hospital and apologizing to the veterans who lost arms, legs, and eyes in Iraq, in part, thanks to the lies of Gerson and laziness of Hiatt.

Welcome to the Bushington Post, people!

Posted by: losthorizon10 | March 17, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

If only kwoods2, logic3, Proconsui, dottydo, and imtrex could read this.

They've been posting over and over again that the bill pays for abortions. Not that it would stop them from continuation of their bogus posting practices of course.

Posted by: abigsam | March 17, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Gerson excretes another POS column.
You peaked with "smoking gun / mushroom cloud"
and it's been downhill ever since.

Gerson and Fred the neocon Hiatt for dogcatcher and sanitation worker respectively in 2010.

Posted by: daveque | March 17, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

"Is there any evidence that one of the main reasons women have abortions is because they lack health coverage that includes contraception?"

Er, Gerson, you're, mis-stating Marcus's position, which is that women are less likely to have abortions if they know they'll have health coverage for their child. PERIOD. Nowhere does she mention contraception.

By the way, I wouldn't blame Gerson if he never takes a look at these comments. The venom spewed here is breathtaking. What rock have some of you people crawled out from under? And I say that as someone who disagrees with Gerson 90% of the time.

Posted by: bigfish2 | March 17, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

No, Gerson does not want Health Care for Americans but just watch his snarling glee when you mention illegal war.

Posted by: mdenny1 | March 17, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

OK, let the bishops decide U.S. public policy. The sun now revolves around the earth; Texas can take Galileo out of their textbooks at last...conservatism achieves primacy again! And oh goody, the inquisition can be restarted.

Women, don your burkas. If you are pregnant and it will kill you, so be it...God, the Bishops and Gerson have spoken.

Posted by: asprey | March 17, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, like the Bishops, is desperately grasping at some straws. I just read both Gerson's piece and the Bishops' piece, having already read Marcus's piece. The objections amount to "if it is not explicitly excluded then it is automatically included and will be abused", which is the same tortured logic that has been used to conclude that advisory boards that will provide voluntary guidance on end-of-life issues are in fact death panels because they will set and enforce standards that take away the right of self-determination. Hogwash then, and hogwash now. There is nothing in the Senate bill that would result in the outcome feared by the so-called pro-life folks except what paranoia and self-serving agendas want to read into them. This is all a cover for the right-wing: if health care/health care insurance reform can be turned into a proxy battle over abortion rights then the right wins either way since (a) passage as-is can then be labeled a pro-abortion vote that will supposedly cost someone reelection, (b) the mere threat of (a) can be used to impose even more restrictions than are in place now (ala the Hyde Amendment), or (c) rejection of the bill can then be claimed as victory for the right and be used as an even stronger cudgel than in (b) in the future. Let's face it: if the vote wasn't so close, no would be thinking this let alone actually trying to do it. Gerson and the bishops, and certainly Stupak, are being patently disingenuous about this, and should be ashamed.

Oh, I forgot. The right has no shame. It was cut out along with empathy after Reagan.

Posted by: lloydamy | March 17, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I thought again, Gerson, and decided not to read your usual bush.

Posted by: jimsteinberg1 | March 17, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: abqcleve

How is it possible that we have a federal law on the books--not even a real law, but something known as the Hyde Amendment--that subverts that which the Supreme Court has declared is a Constitutionally protected right?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Because you have the right to have an abortion, which I support, but you don't have the right to make me help you pay for it.

Now, stop being an imbecile wake up to the truth that this IS a backdoor way for government funding of abortion.

Posted by: urallimbeciles | March 17, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

If Gerson happens to stumble anywhere near a fact, will someone let me know?

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | March 17, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Again, Michael Gerson is a liar and a joke. Go back to writing Bush's speeches.

Posted by: LillyP | March 17, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse


you know if we didnt have to finance all these bribes we just might be able to afford healthcare.

Posted by: ChooseBestCandidate | March 17, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Someone forgot to tell the "Bishops" that the Holy Roman Empire is defunct. That somebody is the Congress, the Court, and the presidency.

The Vatican Nation was again declared a "Foreign Nation" by a United States Appellate Court in its refusal to grant SErbian Orthodox, Jews, Roma surviving victims and their heirs, of 200 Nazi priests.

These priests tortured, often to death, stole their victims' money and deposited it in Vatican Bank, established by Pius XII, as a repository for Nazi loot.

The bank has that blood money still. In the meantime, Vatican Bank is under investigation by the Italian Justice Department for laundering 200,000,000 mafia dollars.

I could go on. But the point is clear. Even if the Vatican were not morally bankrupt (and it is), it is guilty of Racketeering. It benefits from both nonprofit status and the priviledges accorded foreign nations.

Patently illegal. Further, it manipulates Congressmen, who have publicly declared their loyalty to the "Bishops" and voted their way, tantamount to Establishment.

The "Bishops" must be ignored, the Vatican lose its nonprofit status. All Congressmen loyal to Rome must be removed from office.

Why all this (and more) hasn't been taken to court, I don't know. However, it will be.

Posted by: FarnazMansouri | March 17, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for your article. I found your lucid and direct commentary on the abortion issue in the Health Care debate very informative. Its too bad that virtually none of the commenters has directly addressed your article but instead produced more reckless and "casual dismissal of deep ethical concerns."

Posted by: bruce18 | March 17, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

OH WE ARE SO WEARY of the Bshps and the Vatican and the fundys of the world dabbling in US legislation.

It would be such a relief to see abuse and corruption in the Church of Rome (and other churches) eliminated and punished.

It would be such a relief to see citizens of this country enjoy decent health care.

Gerson and his preachers should preach to some other choir; his theology is showing and it's disgusting.

Posted by: suzeq | March 17, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

The UK and Canada have lower rates of abortion because their public insurance pays for abortions--and guess what, young mothers agonizing over abortion have will deliver their children in those countries because they know their kids will have health insurance. Even the Catholic Church in the UK knows this and supports National Health Insurance.

Posted by: Keith3 | March 17, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Let's face it.

Gerson just wants America to be unable to compete in world markets, with an ever-increasing amount of our GDP wasted on junkets by his health care CEO comrades as our nation is unable to deliver goods.

Why?

Because he's anti-capitalist.

And a traitor.

Posted by: WillSeattle | March 17, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I think Kathleen Sebilius made the clearest point of all: The Senate bill is an accounting trick.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOsj5sswVWE

Posted by: post_reader1 | March 17, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Why does the Washington Post give this Shrub apologist a forum? All he does is snipe from the sidelines and occasionally engage in revisionism as called for by Cheney/Rove. I guess it does result in lots of comments though and that means lots of hits so I guess printing this guy's drivel makes some business sense.

Hey wingnuts, at least reward the Post for carrying this guy by clicking on an ad once in a while. It's the least you could do.

Posted by: Observer001 | March 17, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

While the Catholic bishops are consistent in their opposition to abortion and the death penalty, they oppose all forms of birth control, which seriously muddies their moral waters. And most conservatives fervently embrace the death penalty, torture, preemptive war, assassination of terrorist suspects and so on.

I'm afraid everyone's morality is murky here. The world is a complex place, no one is perfect, and no one group's vision of morality should hold sway over us all.

Posted by: bkvam | March 17, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: abqcleve

How is it possible that we have a federal law on the books--not even a real law, but something known as the Hyde Amendment--that subverts that which the Supreme Court has declared is a Constitutionally protected right?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Because you have the right to have an abortion, which I support, but you don't have the right to make me help you pay for it.

Now, stop being an imbecile wake up to the truth that this IS a backdoor way for government funding of abortion.

Posted by: urallimbeciles | March 17, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Why should a woman be forced to pay for OB & neo-natal insurance, copays, deductibles and services when she doesn't want to have a child, but does want a legal abortion?

Posted by: RMarigny | March 17, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

So, we must assume that somewhere in that Senate Bill there's mandatory forced abortion, and at public expense.

Posted by: muawiyah
+++++
Mandatory forced abortion? Someone is always trying to scare Americans with distortions and lies. And I don't give a flying fig what the Catholic Bishops want. The Catholic Church has plenty to be ashamed about without moralizing to the rest of us. Maybe a woman has to have an abortion to save her life, or she was raped or her father got her pregnant. She doesn't need priests who either committed sodomy or looked the other way telling her what is right and what is wrong.

Posted by: creatia52 | March 17, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

If Congress passed a bill that gave free health care to every American, but allowed women to purchase abortion coverage with their own funds, the Bishops would be against it. They will be against every thing but complete criminalization of abortion. I'm Catholic. They should butt out. Jesus never said anything about abortion. However, he did sau if anyone should corrupt a child, it would be better for him to tie a millstone about his neck amd throw himself into the sea. Maybe the Bishops should take His advice.

Posted by: mikel7 | March 17, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

If Congress passed a bill that gave free health care to every American, but allowed women to purchase abortion coverage with their own funds, the Bishops would be against it. They will be against every thing but complete criminalization of abortion. I'm Catholic. They should butt out. Jesus never said anything about abortion. However, he did sau if anyone should corrupt a child, it would be better for him to tie a millstone about his neck amd throw himself into the sea. Maybe the Bishops should take His advice.

Posted by: mikel7 | March 17, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Because you have the right to have an abortion, which I support, but you don't have the right to make me help you pay for it.

Now, stop being an imbecile wake up to the truth that this IS a backdoor way for government funding of abortion.

Posted by: urallimbeciles |
***********
I didn't want us invading Iraq on bush's lies, but I still had to pay for it. Cost a whole lot more than an abortion adn it didn't protect me one bit.

Posted by: mikel7 | March 17, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Rev. Mikey: Is abortion murder? If you won't answer yes or no, please shut up.

Posted by: misterjrthed | March 17, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Bishops may discuss this abortion issue at their Annual Female Hating Convention and at The Annual Running of the Alter Boys. Gerson could be the Pork U. Guest Speaker and honorarily run down the first best boy.

Posted by: MyCut | March 17, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Keith3~ ethnic group to ethnic group Canada's rates of anything are identical to those in the United States.

Doesn't matter what we are talking about (except speaking French with a bad accent ~ they got the edge on that one).

Genes and behavior count for more than availability of health care (except for sucking chest wounds).

Posted by: muawiyah | March 17, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Creatia52 ~ Yes, mandatory forced abortion is probably in there. Just a matter of time until some federal judge finds it.

You realize that the first few notorious cases of abortion in Maryland (where there was opposition to the way Roe v. Wade was being understood by the courts) involved women who didn't want an abortion, but their "keepers" or the "medical community" did.

Same here!

Just waiting.

Now, about what you said:

"...... Catholic Bishops ......... Catholic Church ........ moralizing...... raped or her father got her pregnant....... priests ..........".

If I were you I'd take that up with the Catholics themselves. Frankly I don't give a big rat's a--.

You see, I'm not a Catholic, and I'm not a Fundy, and I'm not a Conservative or Orthodox Jew.......

Now about father's who impregnate their daughters, they're usually upper income Episcopaleans or members of the Unitarian-Universalist church, and it's all with consent.

Right?

Posted by: muawiyah | March 17, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

The degree of anti-Catholic bigotry shown on this thread is highly disturbing.

It's like the Peace of Westphalia was never signed.

Posted by: muawiyah | March 17, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

WHAT DO THE BOARDS OF RABBIS SAY? HAVE THEY CHECKED OFF WHAT THEY WILL AND WILL NOT ACCEPT?

AMERICAN HINDU PRIESTS?

AMERICAN IMAMS?

GAS STATION ATTENDANTS OF THE UNITED STATES?

Posted by: FarnazMansouri | March 17, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse


If Gerson and his fellow travelers get their way, nobody who has to go to the insurance exchanges for affordable insurance will be able to find a plan that covers elective abortions.

Instead of making abortion illegal again, they simply make it completely unaffordable to the average American. The rich, of course, will still be free to fly to Europe.

..

Posted by: DEFJAX | March 17, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

How easy it is to insult people belonging to a particular religion from behind a computer. I invite you all to come down to any catholic church next Sunday during Mass and expound your views. None of you will do it. Cowards.

Posted by: rick50 | March 17, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

The big falacy in this is the idea that these bishops have any moral credibility left at all...and it isn't anti-anyone to say this. Can't get this involved in this saying they value children and not expect their poor record on protecting children to come up.

Posted by: vavoter | March 17, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

The degree of anti-Catholic bigotry shown on this thread is highly disturbing.

It's like the Peace of Westphalia was never signed.

Posted by: muawiyah
-------------------------
Judging from the way Vatican Nation has the US under its thumb, as evidenced by this bill, its concealment of pedophiles, exemption from obstruction of justice charges, pedophile priests out on the streets, foreign nation and contemporaneous nonprofit status, etc., etc., I would have to say that this government is acting like the treaty was not signed.

This has nothing to do with individual Catholics, some of whom have suffered more than the rest of us from Vatican Nation. It is the Vatican and its control of our government that is in question.

In no other country, including Italy, does it have this influence.

Indeed it is under investigation for money laundering in Italy and has tried the Foreign Nation business there as a way to evade investigation, but Italy wasn't having it. You see the mafia money the Vatican laundered is used to murder elected Italian officials who try to stem the flow of organized crime, drowning Italy.

It is the Vatican that needs to know about WEstphalia, and the Congress and Court of America.

Posted by: FarnazMansouri | March 17, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

vavoter ~ still a bunch of anti-religion, and anti-Catholic bigots on this thread.

Why don't you guys find something positive to do ~ like maybe play in heavy trffic.

Posted by: muawiyah | March 17, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Why the objections? The Democrats know the language that has been changed. They listened to what Pelosi said about women not being denied health care. That's means government funded abortions. Pelosi then went on to say in other language, women will be given the medical attention they deserve. That means government funded abortion to the Democrats. They know Pelosi speak and they know how Pelosi thinks. They know the deceptions Pelosi uses in her strong arming just for votes. We look for things like abortions will be funded by the government. Don't forget who we're dealing with here. The people didn't know what President Obama meant when he said he was going to fundamentally change and transform this country until President Obama fully let the cat out of the bag about his true intentions for this country. The Democrats in the House and the Senate can no more trust the language Pelosi and Reid have change to fool them anymore then the American people can trust what President Obama says.

Posted by: houstonian | March 17, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Gerson quotes the bishops. Typically one-sided. The Catholic Health Association supports the health reform bill and after studying it determined it provides NO federal support for abortion.

http://www.chausa.org/WorkArea/linkit.aspx?LinkIdentifier=id&ItemID=2147484553

Posted by: CJamesJr | March 17, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Only in Washington are repeated failures rehired on the theory that they are 'experienced'. It's the same theory that rehires baseball managers, and brings John McCain back to Meet the Press every Sunday, makes reporters cover whatever accusation comes out of Dick Cheney's mouth as if it's seriously thought out and reflects policy, and makes chickenhawks like Fred Hiatt hire every cheap hack who needs work from the Bush administration.

Posted by: losthorizon10 | March 17, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Many fine points here, including a well-deserved defense of Catholic bishops the vast majority of whom would love to see some form of national health care, but who can't stomach it when it comes at the price of a death penalty for human beings who can't vote or be heard in the public forum.

Feminism in our time is a mighty tide working out the quintesential American value of self-determination, in this case against the forces of biology and lust.

Somewhere in an alternate universe women refused to sacrifice their children on the altar of their sexual appeal to men who would copulate with salmon were that their only option.

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Posted by: rritkonlyyou | March 17, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

The level of discourse around any WaPo article that mentions anything Catholic is pathetic. The core of anti-Catholic bigots who roam this site doesn't bother to address the issue at hand; instead, these people offer only ad-hominem (or ad-Christian) fallacies that reveal a "knowledge" of the Catholic Church that is devoid of any understanding of Catholic doctrine.

Such hate. If the comments posted by these bigots were directed against any non-Christian religion, there would be calls for investigations of hate speech. I don't advocate that, but I do note the hypocrasy.

Posted by: pgk4usa | March 18, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Exact Same Style weekend event by US Congress sent HelathCare bill to US Senate in LATE 2009. Several Problems then, US Congress was NOT In session that day/NIGHT & photos show Person with Grey hair, heavy set & Mustache, identified in News Release as US Congressional Sgt at Arms, whom Lost Job (fired) about 6 Years ago. Recently, earlier today, picture on internet with Same Heavy set gray haired & Mustached defunct Sgt at ARMS, with group in US Congress Floor area with Hon Pelosi, Seems that specific BAD guard Knows how to enter US Congress when out of session & Pull Spoof Photo session that becomes foundation for HealthCare bill Moving Bill on in Process, complete Fraud, Public Seems NOT smart Enough to UnderStand Mess has fallen into. terrible Crime, Right in Front of US Public Eyes.

Murder Is NOT Health Care & Prsent Bill Is Harvest of People whom bought BAD Package, NOT HealthCare At ALL. Entertainment Murder In isolated Place called hospitol. Inside Foundation of present HealthCare, Is HATE of Citizens of United States of America Lawyers Are that Way with Others. Whole Lie now called health Care Bill Needs Be Thrown Out, Defeated. Congress Is About To Criminalize HealthCare Process Further than every before. Public Being Duped & Repeat of first events in US Congress in Lat 2009. US CongressPeople Are NOT Above Law.


Signed:PHYSICIAN THOMAS STEWART von DRASHEK M.D.

GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY 1984 to 1989.

Posted by: thomasxstewart1 | March 17, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: thomasxstewart1 | March 18, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

The degree of anti-Catholic bigotry shown on this thread is highly disturbing. As are the ad hominem attacks on Gerson. I was taught long by my logic Professor to distrust, or outright dismiss, such arguments as they play on one's emotions rather than their intellect. Oh, and that such arguments are usually advanced by the most intellectually feeble members of society. Twenty years later my logic Professor is proven right, yet again. Sigh.

Posted by: jeffdc1 | March 18, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Yonkers, New York
18 March 2010

The Roman Catholic bishops' objection to the Obama health-care reform is anchored solely on their perception that the bill contains a provision that allows Federal funding for abortion.

The apt metaphor here is that the bishops have no problem throwing the baby away with the wash!

Where, oh where, is their sense of proportion as intelligent human beings? And where is their compassion as Christians?

On the other hand, Roman Catholic nuns are solidly in favor of health-care reform--in spite of the specific provision on abortion to which the bishops are opposed. This is one time when the nuns are putting their bishops to shame!

Mariano Patalinjug

Posted by: MPatalinjug | March 18, 2010 6:16 AM | Report abuse

Yonkers, New York
18 March 2010

The Roman Catholic bishops' objection to the Obama health-care reform is anchored solely on their perception that the bill contains a provision that allows Federal funding for abortion.

The apt metaphor here is that the bishops have no problem throwing the baby away with the wash!

Where, oh where, is their sense of proportion as intelligent human beings? And where is their compassion as Christians?

On the other hand, Roman Catholic nuns are solidly in favor of health-care reform--in spite of the specific provision on abortion to which the bishops are opposed. This is one time when the nuns are putting their bishops to shame!

Mariano Patalinjug

Posted by: MPatalinjug | March 18, 2010 6:16 AM | Report abuse

Yonkers, New York
18 March 2010

The Roman Catholic bishops' objection to the Obama health-care reform is anchored solely on their perception that the bill contains a provision that allows Federal funding for abortion.

The apt metaphor here is that the bishops have no problem throwing the baby away with the wash!

Where, oh where, is their sense of proportion as intelligent human beings? And where is their compassion as Christians?

On the other hand, Roman Catholic nuns are solidly in favor of health-care reform--in spite of the specific provision on abortion to which the bishops are opposed. This is one time when the nuns are putting their bishops to shame!

Mariano Patalinjug

Posted by: MPatalinjug | March 18, 2010 6:16 AM | Report abuse

Yonkers, New York
18 March 2010

The Roman Catholic bishops' objection to the Obama health-care reform is anchored solely on their perception that the bill contains a provision that allows Federal funding for abortion.

The apt metaphor here is that the bishops have no problem throwing the baby away with the wash!

Where, oh where, is their sense of proportion as intelligent human beings? And where is their compassion as Christians?

On the other hand, Roman Catholic nuns are solidly in favor of health-care reform--in spite of the specific provision on abortion to which the bishops are opposed. This is one time when the nuns are putting their bishops to shame!

Mariano Patalinjug

Posted by: MPatalinjug | March 18, 2010 6:20 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson -- needs to read two columns -- one from his own paper and one from The New York Times. Both pertain to the question in this column.

Mr. Gerson asks: Apart from the principle involved, is it really credible to imagine that massive public subsidies to health-insurance plans that cover abortion would reduce the number of abortions? Is there any evidence that one of the main reasons women have abortions is because they lack health coverage that includes contraception?

In his column today in The New York Times, [available free on line] Nicholas Kristoff gives the surprising [at least to me] answer: YES, there IS evidence that available medical care reduces abortions:

[Quoting T.R. Reed:] “Increasing health-care coverage is one of the most powerful tools for reducing the number of abortions — a fact proved by years of experience in other industrialized nations.”

"The United States has one-third more abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age than Canada, and more than twice as many as Germany, said Mr. Reid, author of an excellent recent book on health care around the world. While countries with liberal social policies typically make abortion accessible and cheap, they make other elements of health care accessible and cheap as well — such as contraception and child care. Research by the Guttmacher Institute suggests that access to contraception could be the crucial factor in reducing pregnancies and abortions.
xxx
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/17/AR2010031702440.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

-- tells how the nuns exposed the hypocrisy of the bishops in their opposition to the health care reform bill.
xxx
If Mr. Gerson intends to retain his credibility [as well as show some honesty in his reporting] he has a responsibility to admit that there is evidence that AVAILABLE HEALTH CARE REDUCES ABORTIONS.

Ken Hamburger

Posted by: kenh1 | March 18, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Interested in talking more about the right-to-life movement’s efforts to appeal to the black community? This, as well as the racial wealth gap in America, are the topics of discussion tonight on WGBH’s Basic Black. You can tune in to the conversation at 7:30 on Channel 2 in Boston or watch online at www.basicblack.org. There will also be a live online chat throughout the show!

Posted by: saltzmas | March 18, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

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